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Mr. Samuel's Penny: An Elizabeth Parrot Landers Mystery    by Treva Hall Melvin Amazon.com order for
Mr. Samuel's Penny
by Treva Hall Melvin
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2014 (2014)
Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

In 1972, fourteen year-old Lizbeth and her younger sister Lena are sent from New York City to Ahoskie, North Carolina for school summer vacation. They will stay with relatives. Lizbeth anticipates a boring summer.

However, things start off in a pretty exciting manner as Lizbeth witnesses a car driving off a bridge a man is drowned and his infant daughter dies with him. All of Ahoskie mourns along with the man's wife Violet who is inconsolable. There's a touch of mystery too - why was the man, the owner of the local lumber company, clutching a unique 1909 wheat penny? The valuable penny then disappears from the sheriff's office.

Lizbeth decides to help Violet by finding who took the penny. She questions a good many of the villagers. In so doing, she meets unusual characters who are not particularly agreeable. Nasty old Mr. Jake runs the village store. Ms. Melanie Neely is generally known as Ms. McMeanie. Crazy Aunt Ode, missing one eye and most of her teeth, makes an entrance.

Lizbeth, a black girl in a predominately white community, runs into racial discrimination and a most unlikely person comes to her rescue.

Lizbeth is a very likable young lady and tries her best to get along with everyone. But her irrepressible nature leads her into situations that could be downright dangerous. Life, at times, is not easy but she manages to come out on top. Mr. Samuel's Penny is a good book for most any age. At times I felt the author graciously gave Lizbeth knowledge a little beyond her age group. But a good read, nonetheless.

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